Our leadership is comprised of professional chaplains, physicians, and counselors who promote the mission and vision of Ziyara.

Board of Directors (Alphabetical Order): 

  • Samsiah Abdul-Majid, Chaplain – Westchester County, New York
  • Dr. Kamal Abu-Shamsieh, Graduate Theological Union – Berkeley
  • Sakinah Alhabshi, Chaplain Fellow, Stanford Hospital
  • Safiyyah Kent Alsabri – University of California, San Francisco
  • Narjess Kardan, CPE Student Educator, Houston Methodist Hospital
  • Sondos Kholaki, Chaplain – Hoag Hospital
  • Dr. Ramy Salah – Sutter Health
  • Taqwa Surapati, Cancer Chaplain – Stanford Hospital

Our leadership is comprised of professional chaplains, physicians, and counselors who promote the mission and vision of Ziyara.

Samiah Abdul-Majid, BCC 
Samsiah is a board-certified chaplain in palliative care. She is a former United Nations official, and has served as the secretary of the Association of Muslim Chaplains (AMC), and is a co-investigator in an AMC-Boston University Medical School pioneering study to map Muslim chaplains in the US.


  • MA, Islamic Studies and Christian Muslim Relations, Hartford Seminary
  • Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy, Hartford Seminary
  • Board Certification,  Association of Professional Chaplains (APC-BCCI)
  • Clinical Pastoral Education,  Westchester Medical Center, NY & Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

Dr. Kamal Abu-Shamsieh: (Founder) 
Kamal is the founder of Ziyara and director of the Interreligious Chaplaincy Program at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. He leads local, national, and international seminars to train spiritual care providers in various Muslim countries. For more information, email [email protected].


  • Ph.D., Practical Theology, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley
  • MA, Islamic Studies / Christian – Muslim Relations, Hartford Seminary
  • Graduate Certificate, Islamic Chaplaincy, Hartford Seminary
  • Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE – 4 Units), Stanford Hospital
  • Certificate, Palliative Care Chaplaincy, CSU – Institute for Palliative Care

Chaplain Sakinah Alhabshi

Sakinah was born and raised in Malaysia. She spent ten years in the oil & gas industry, with experience in project management, international relations, communication, and corporate social responsibility. Since then, she has ventured into the education and health field – currently serving her community through coaching, counseling, as well as volunteering in hospices and disaster relief missions.


  • MA student, Islamic Studies, Graduate Theological Union
  • CPE Residency, Stanford Hospital, CA, USA
  • Advanced Diploma in Islamic Studies, Arees University, Malaysia
  • Certificate in Leadership, GE Oil & Gas University, Florence, Italy
  • B.S. Environmental Engineering, Northwestern University, IL, USA

Safiyyah Kent Alsabri 
Safiyyah Kent Alsabri was raised in the Bay Area and graduated with High Honors from UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s in African-American Studies. Safiyyah converted to Islam after finding a translation of the Qur’an in a bookstore. She has worked in the education field for over 20 years, most recently in international leadership roles. She seeks to utilize her 30 years’ experience in interfaith and Islamic teaching to offer spiritual and emotional support to others as an interfaith chaplain. She recently completed a year-long CPE program at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center.


  • Master of Science, Educational Leadership – Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Bachelor of Arts, African American Studies, UC Berkeley
  • Certification – Leadership Training Facilitator | University College London (UCL)
  • Certificate in Teaching and Curriculum Development (ITEP) – University of Toronto
  • Certificate – Interreligious Chaplaincy Program, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley (in progress)
  • Clinical Pastoral Education (4-units), UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco, CA

Chaplain Narjess Kardan

Narjess has been serving as a Muslim chaplain at Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX for three years. She provides services to the palliative care team as an interfaith chaplain and contributes to the ethics committee on issues related to Muslim patients.


  • Bachelor of Divinity, Al-Zahra University in Qum, Iran
  • MA, Islamic Thought and Theology-Quran Science and Hadith, Shiraz University in Shiraz, Iran.
  • Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE- 5 Units)- Methodist Hospital
  • Adjunct Faculty, Islamic philosophy at Shiraz Azad University
  • Researcher & Lecturer, Sama University, Al-Qadeer University, and Imam Husain College.


  • Self-Development in Islam, a book in Farsi
  • Lexicon of holy Quran’s Verbs, a book in Arabic
  • Quran Study, Islamic Theology Magazine between 2009 and 2012.

Chaplain Sondos Kholaki, MDiv, BCC, (President)

Sondos is a board-certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) and serves as a staff chaplain at Hoag Hospital and a Muslim chaplain at Cedars Sinai Hospital. She is the author of “Musings of a Muslim Chaplain”. She currently serves on the board of the Association of Muslim Chaplains as Vice-President for Healthcare. Sondos previously served as President of the Board of Directors at the Islamic Center of Irvine (ICOI).


  • Master of Divinity Student, Islamic Chaplaincy at the Claremont School of Theology/Bayan Claremont
  • Recipient, Fathi Osman Academic Excellence Award
  • Regents Scholar, UCLA – Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing
  • Clinical Pastoral Education (5 Units), Hoag Hospital
  • Board Certification, Association of Professional Chaplains (APC-BCCI)
  • Certificate in Palliative Care Chaplaincy, CSU Institute for Palliative Care

Ramy Salah, MD

Ramy is an outpatient, home-based palliative care physician in San Mateo, CA. He also is the medical director of palliative care at a mid-sized hospital, where he co-chairs the hospital bioethics committee. He’s led advance care planning workshops for Muslims in mosques, held talks on the Islamic perspective of end-of-life care in various settings, and presented the Islamic bioethics on withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment at the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. His most recent project studies attitudes of Muslims, and Muslim chaplains in particular, on physician aid-in-dying.


  • Doctor of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Internal Medicine Residency,  University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Palliative Medicine Fellowship, Un. of California, San Francisco, ( UCSF)

Chaplain Taqwa Surapati (Treasurer)
Taqwa works as Cancer Care Chaplain at Stanford Hospital. For a decade, Taqwa served as a Spiritual Care volunteer at Stanford and other local hospitals in the San Jose area. Her interests include oncology chaplaincy, how people of different faiths view end-of-life situations and advance health care planning. Taqwa came to the US in 1998 from Jakarta, Indonesia where she and her family established a home in the Bay Area.


  • Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy – Hartford Seminary
  • MA Student, Islamic Studies, Graduate Theological Union
  • Clinical Pastoral Education (4 Units), Stanford Hospital